We love you mama Jesesi and papa Charles Mungoshi: We are delighted the legend lives on as you launch Baba Charles’ latest novel Branching Streams Flow in the Dark sometime in August this year! We can’t wait! (Photo above used courtesy of the Mungoshi family)
We welcome you to the 90th issue of our WIN Newsletter, hoping we find you well. As for our members, we know you are patiently waiting to hear some news from us. We thank you. As we transit this phase (difficult or walkover), we keep burning in flames of writing and reading, questing for what only words can heal. Meanwhile, we are, just as anyone in the arts industry, saddened by the news of Book Café closure. We indeed pray the Café comes back to life again as it stood out as one among many wonderful and full-time arts and culture hubs that provided the much needed space to celebrate this that keeps us sane: talent. Please enjoy.
A LOOK AT ‘BABA VARUDO’
Supa Mafuta (WIN Epworth Branch)
Baba VaRudo (2013, Bhabhu Books) is a thirteen paged children’s book written by renowned author Memory Chirere. Chirere has written other books namely ‘Tudikidiki’, ‘Somewhere In this Country’, and ‘Bhuku Risina Basa Nekuti Rakanyorwa Masikati’. Irrespective of being short and fit for children, Chirere’s ‘Baba VaRudo’ can also appeal to all age-groups because of its theme.
Briefly, the story runs along the theme that nothing hidden will forever remain hidden. In Shona, we say, “Rinamanyanga hariputirwe.”
The expertly written ‘Baba VaRudo’ is about the main character Baba VaRudo who usually is identifiable with a ‘bhibho’, a kind of hairstyle. He wears a white shirt, a black trousers and rafters. Chirere is a professional in creating live characters. Baba VaRudo enjoys whistling tunes whilst riding his bicycle. Deep love for his wife and two children Rudo and Kuda is his strength but all the same, it is this strength which seemingly goes overdrive and creates a desperation leading to thieving.
A great famine arises as an aftermath of poor rainfall. The situation is so cruel that in order to survive or maximize on food people resort to mixing the available mealie-meal with ashes. This becomes a practice of survival. Sharing of food is forgotten as there is no surplus food available. As his family almost starves to death, Baba VaRudo could not help just sitting back and watch. This crisis sees Baba VaRudo pretending to be engaged in food for work. He leaves home only to return with stolen mealie-meal.
In the end, completely naked and his face covered in something like dust or ashes in order to make himself look like a monster, Baba VaRudo robs his wife of her mealie-meal. Overcome with fear, Mai Rudo runs for dear life!
You need to grab a copy to enjoy the rest of this story and surely children will enjoy it. I enjoyed it as Chirere once again stamps his authority in humor in this story and yet underneath it carries very important lessons for the readers.
WHY I LOVE WRITING: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
We posted the topic ‘Why I Love Writing: A Personal Experience’ on our Whatsapp Group and prompted our members to share their experiences. We hereby publish two amazing testimonies we received.
Patrick Hwande (Gokwe North)
To me writing is like breathing. I can’t do without it. Of all genres, poetry is my forte. When I was a little boy in mid-1980, I used to enjoy the beautifully crafted pieces recited by my siblings. Even my father’s praise poetry in Ndebele helped a great deal in kindling my love for poetry. It made me want to write my own pieces and I did! When people showed appreciation of my writings I could not stop writing.
In 1998 l wrote my Shona poem and recited it at a National Book Week event. I was a student at Gwanda Zintec College then. I received not only prizes but so many friends. I got motivated and kept on writing. “Patrick you have talent. Keep writing,” said a brother in 1992 when he got hold of my poem. This always rings in mind whenever I think of putting writing aside.
The publishers encouraged me to marry my pen to paper when in 1999 I sent my work to them. Although they could not consider my work for various reasons, they suggested that I read to the public and note their remarks as this would help me grow in writing. I heeded their advice and it paid dividends.
Now I am being invited regularly to various events to read my poetry. The move has enabled me to unite people from across the political and religious divide.
It is every writer’s ambition to leave behind a rich literary legacy like William Shakespeare, Chinua Achebe or Dambudzo Marechera. I will write till I die since I am dying to join these legendary icons in literary world.
Ngugi wa Thiongo says it is the duty of the writers to expose the evils of the societies. How I wish to be the voice of the voiceless in my quest to fight for social justice and equality in our global village. Why did God give me the voice to speak, the mind to perceive and the will to write? So I will always write to right the wrongs soiling our societies.
In my youth I used to play hide and seek. A sense of achievement I will have after outwitting my peers. In my writing, I use metaphors, symbols, allegories, images...that will make my readers scratch heads. Poetry gives me a unique sense of pride and pleasure. I cannot just gobble down other people's creatures. I want them to point at something that is exclusively mine. By so doing I will be very alive even many years after my death. As a teacher, writing is an inescapable reality. I do research and writing time and again. To this end I must love writing.
Before I use any book in class, l must assess its suitability to the pupils’/students’ level of mental development and their environment. I think I am blessed to be at a vantage position to write the material that suits my class. Thank you.
Whilst it is true that some people undertake this business of writing to quench their financial thirst or in other words to earn a living out of it, mine is a little bit different and at the same time a complicated scenario.
I love writing poems in Shona or English. I like to write poems as an escape route from something and at times as a hobby. There are certain moments I feel lonely, not wanting to walk or even to interact with other people. Under such circumstances I simply take my pen and rough paper and start to occupy myself with building rhyming sentences in an endeavor to describe my feelings, an event, person or animal either real or imaginary. The mood is generally lighter and less serious. Last time I saw my cousin’s status on Whatsapp profile reading: ''Single''. I don’t know how but I just thought of composing one poem as follows:
Start with others to mingle
If you want ceasing to be single
Lest with age your face might wrinkle
And on your cheeks, shameful tears might trickle.
Come with the eagle's accuracy
Just pick one, not a myriad
Carrying numerous flowers isn't good
Another reason why I love writing is that I am the master of the Poetry Club at my school. I always want to practice so as to improve my skills and to have an immense reservoir of poems so that when my students ask for samples I am not found wanting. Besides this club aspect, I also want to be published. I have a dream of seeing and reading my published items. To convince readers that you are a writer you ought to have tangible evidence. Telling people that you are a writer without any tangible thing to substantiate that statement is meaningless...no wonder why some people end up relying on commands and brutal coercion of people. I also like to write in an attempt to answer back or give a contradictory perspective to domineering ideologies. I end up writing so as to give my distinct viewpoint of the universe. Sometimes I also find myself writing about myself. I like to document my life in bits and pieces of poetry. I feel that writing my own biography is my responsibility, thus I am at times autobiographical. This is true if one reads my unpublished pieces such as The life of Joze the Orphan, Illness, Employers or The Interview Date''.
Then I might say, like anybody else, though on the periphery, I also love writing so as to earn a living. This can only be realized if the business proliferates.
I am grateful to supportive people such as my former lecturer Dr. T. S Ngwenya at Great Zimbabwe University who advised me on the way forward when he discovered my passion and inspiration. He was my academic project advisor (in literature) at the GZU.
So as one might see it is not a straightforward case of picking one thing and say that it is the only one that prompts me to love or like this art of writing. Thank you.
THE YOUTH PERSPECTIVE
Live your Life
Everything you will ever do as a person involves taking a risk. From the moment you step out of that door of your house and walk out into the world there’s a chance you could either get run over from just crossing the road or get mugged by a random stranger on your way to work but we do it. Why? Because life is all about living. Statistics show that even something as simple as falling whilst you’re taking a walk somewhere can be considered life threatening.
Tripping/slipping at the same level is 1 in 445,729 for example. Accidental drowning in bath tub is 1 in 818,015 can be another. We don’t think about these things because it’s too mundane to be thought of as taking a risk but the fact of the matter is every little thing you do should be taken into consideration. That doesn’t mean that we have to now start panicking about what we do and how we do it because then we stop appreciating what life has to offer.
It’s about not underestimating even the smallest aspect of your life and start living each day as if it were our last. A person can spend their whole life trying to avoid the biggest things that they think will kill them but by the end it might be the smallest thing that does. Why? Because they underestimated the chances that it could. Think about it, one of the smallest creatures of this world (the mosquito) can carry one of the most deadly diseases (malaria).
So be happy, do the things that make you happy.
Live the life that you want to and avoid over-thinking. Once you start listening to what other people have to say about the way you should be living then that’s when you start taking a step backwards instead of forward and you forget to just be. Taking a risk in life without over or under estimating what the outcome will be might mean that you would have missed out on something great. So don’t take life for granted and do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Even if that means staying home every Saturday night and re-watching one of your favourite TV shows. There’s nothing wrong with that, you don’t have to jump off buildings to be called a risk taker. Just being who you are is already a risk so why not just be?
A POET’S WHISPER OF LOVE
Congratulations: Poet Alois Sagota aka Sagota Sagota (centre) tied the knot with his beloved Vongai Tecla Gwese (left) on May 30, 2015 at the St Stephens Catholic Church in Dzivarasekwa, Harare. Mrs. Takawira cheers the newly-weds. May God bless this union until the end of time….
The Harare launch of ‘Textures’ (2014, AmaBooks) an anthology of poetry written by the duo John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo did have the classic feel of writerly openness coupled with rare and significant background detail which is never revealed in the written work. The launch of ‘Textures’ took place at the Book Café in Harare on Thursday May 21.
Read more here: Poets Speak On New Anthology
JOHN EPPEL’S ADVICE TO BUDDING POETS
(An excerpt from his interview with Beaven Tapureta (WIN) on the sidelines of the book launch)
“Young poets write in English because that’s how they feel they will get acknowledged or noticed but they do not have enough grasp of the language to use it in poetry. They can use it in prose but it’s different in poetry. Poetry is very subtle. There are some young poets who are starting to achieve profound poetry…. Problem with our children in this country is that they don’t read. You have to build up a basis, a tradition for yourself to be a writer. You have to read and know your poets…. If you want to write in English, read great poets who have written in that language. If you want to write in Shona, read great Shona poets…. Youngsters today are controlled by the digital world, television and internet – they hardly read. When you read something, it’s an effort, you take in material.” - J Eppel.
LAUNCH OF ‘TEXTURES’ IN PICTURES
British Council (Zimbabwe) Director Samantha Harvey delivers her speech
From left: Jackie Cahi, Brian Jones and Jane Morris participate in a dramatic poem led by poet Togara Muzanenhamo (not in the picture)
Writer and publisher Ignitius Mabasa (right) in conversation with Togara
John Eppel (right) answers a question asked by Mabasa
Eppel reading his poem from 'Textures'
Ignitius T Mabasa probes the poets
Togara happily signs autograph
And Eppel autographs a copy of 'Textures' for a reader
A meeting with Jane Morris (centre) of AmaBooks, publishers of 'Textures', is always lively and inspirational. Here she is enjoying the launch with established writers David Mungoshi (on her right) and Memory Chirere (on her left)
ZIBF Events Coordinator Mrs. Shato also came to listen to the poetry and discussion
Rumbi Katedza, a distinguished film maker chats with David Mungoshi
The silence of 'Textures' speaks between thoughtful Togara and Mungoshi
Togara and Eppel pose with their 'Textures' after the launch
THANK YOU FOR READING. LETS MEET AGAIN IN OUR NEXT NEWSLETTER.
THANK YOU FOR READING. LETS MEET AGAIN IN OUR NEXT NEWSLETTER.